Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Birth Pangs of Obamacare

All the problems plaguing Obamacare reminds me of a difficult delivery. Is Obamacare facing the wrong way? Is it going to be a stillbirth? Any newborn that enters a world so hostile to its arrival would make an immediate about face and want to return to the womb. But I, for one, am confident that Obamacare is here to stay.

The one problem with Obamacare that cannot be ignored is that it is so bloody complicated. Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t bother with such a boring subject as health care, but this is a historical moment in US history, and I owe it to myself to understand the delivery process.

Comparing International Health Care Systems is the first step to guiding me through the muck of misinformation, most of it willfully created by the Republican Party. Ironically, it is Americans who should have the least difficulty recognizing all four models, since they are all part of the US’ fragmented health care system. Read more...

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Evil use of Language: On ‘Animal Equality'

"What you speak with your tongue,
You speak with your heart.
Say not the untrue thing."

If you ever doubted the power of language, I recommend you read 'Animal Equality: Language and Liberation' by Joan Dunayer. With lucidity, courage and brute honesty, the author shows us that the way we speak about animals is inseparable from the way we treat them.

Evil, in any form, has the nasty habit of gathering euphemisms around itself, until it grows to unmanageable proportions. ‘The final solution’, ‘ethnic cleansing’ and other expressions are a prime example. But the way we use our language as it relates to nonhuman animals deserves a special medal for self-deception and evil.

In her book, Dunayer opens our eyes onto the world of hunting and fishing, zoo keeping and aquariums, vivisection and animal agriculture. Each branch has its own ‘language’, which is designed to justify the immense cruelty, suffering and pain that are inflicted on nonhuman animals. Through what Dunayer calls 'speciesism', similar to sexism or racism, we lie to ourselves. Read more...

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Schizophrenia of the Republican Party: Anarcho-Libertarianism or Police State?

Republicans (“Conservatives”) are torn by two extremisms, both equally baneful: On the one hand, there is the Rand Paul libertarian wing, loons such as Michelle Bachmann and much of the Tea Party.

This group is the reductio ad absurdum of the seductive slogan launched by Ronald Reagan in 1980: “the government is the problem, not the solution.”

By now, it is conceivable that this group has managed to brainwash and capture a majority of American public opinion. Judging by website comments, letters to the editor, audience reaction to Jay Leno’s jokes, and small talk by the water cooler, most Americans now seem, like zombies in a trance, to agree that

the best form of government is a non-existent government,
all taxation is theft,
national mandatory health insurance is fascism,
dependence on food stamps and other government hand-outs is immoral,
all public employees are corrupt, incompetent and overpaid,
etc.